Published on
10 Apr 2023
3 min read

What Happens to Your Credit Card Reward Points After You Die?

Vishnu Teja Chundi
May 19, 2023

Death can be a difficult subject to discuss. Nevertheless, people should realise the importance of planning for it no matter what. But often, small and major things miss out on that pursuit. We’re talking about your credit card reward points.

Have you ever thought about whether you can pass on credit card points to somebody after the owner passes away? Or do the points get nullified?

These are pretty common questions we’ve come across people worrying about. It’s a much bigger matter to worry about when the owner has thousands of hundreds of reward points but before using them all, meets with an unfortunate death.

You might be here because you’re planning ahead of time or a loved one passed away and you want to learn about the next steps. In every case, we got you covered. In this article, we talk about what happens to your reward points after you die, what can your loved one do with these points after you and the importance of planning.

What happens to your credit card reward points after you die?

Credit card rewards aren’t a property that you can legally pass on to a family member or a loved one. However, we aren’t saying that it is off the table. It completely depends on the issuer of the credit card or the company offering those points.

Most reward schemes mention in their terms and conditions the next steps of the accumulated points if the owner dies. So, one of the ways you can go about it is by contacting the reward program organisers or the credit card issuers.

What To Do with Credit Card Rewards if the Owner Passes Away?

If you’re aware of the credit points history of a loved one, you can use the following ways to address the issue:

  • Check their accounts and reward balance: If your loved one provided you with access to their accounts, log in to them and check their remaining balance for all their accounts. If not, go with the next step.
  • Get the paperwork: For this step, you’ll have to get proof of the owner’s death, perhaps a death certificate. Additionally, provide the authorities with their name, contact information, trustee, testament, and further details.
  • Contact the credit card issuer: Contact the credit card issuer, provide the necessary documents and discuss your options to redeem the reward points in place of the owner.

Note: Generally, in case of non-transferable or expired reward points, the points might be forfeited. On the contrary, some credit card issuer terms convert the remaining points into a statement credit while others allow rewards redemption or transfers.

How to ensure the remaining credit card points aren't forfeited?

First, it’s highly advisable to critically understand the loyalty program’s rules before associating with them. It’s a shame to lose your hard-earned points to forfeit, or if they belonged to a dear one.

Ensure to maximise your expenses, earn fast rewards and track your points in one place.

If it’s about a loved one, ensure to collect their login credentials and all the necessary documentation to redeem the points after them. Don’t forget to keep soft copies of their death certificate.

Passing on your points

Depending on the loyalty program you signed up for, you may use one of the three ways to pass on the credit card points.

  • Transfer your points to a family member
  • Use the points like the owner is still living
  • Convert the points via a fixed-rate redemption

The pros would say that if you care for your loved ones and also hate to see your hard-earned credit card points go to waste, pass them on while you still can. This way, the points remain yours as a loved one will be benefiting from it, just like you’d have liked to spend it if you were still around.

In the case of non-transferable credit points, try to keep the deceased person’s account active. This will allow you to log in to their account and use their points when required. However, there might be certain limitations.

Also, remember that some credit card reward points may have to be used on a fixed-rate basis. This happens when the unused reward points are put in for cash back to the statement balance.

Always, Plan Ahead of Time

You never know what lies ahead. You can’t be sure what happens to your credit card reward points after your death. It depends on the loyalty program or the credit card issuer’s terms and conditions. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place.

In most cases, you’ll spend all your credit card points when you can. But having a backup is what the wise men would do. Make sure to mention your credit card points in your estate plan, so that they can be passed on as and when the time comes.